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Kelvin Water Dropper experiment refers to the electrostatic generator invented by Lord Kelvin, which uses falling water to generate a voltage by electrostatic induction occurring between interconnected, oppositely charged systems.


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The way I have heard it explained is not by the container but the water drops themselves. Statistically there is no way you can get a perfectly neutral water drop every single time. Eventually you will get a drop with a charge of 0.000000001 coulombs. This tiny imbalance is enough to set the experiment in motion into a positive feedback system.

You can think about it this way, imagine a factory that makes steel balls that have a mass of 100 grams each. Is it reasonable to think that every single ball from the factory will have a mass of exactly 100 grams and not vary to even 100.0000000000000000001 grams? Electrical charge functions the same way. No macro size object has a perfectly neutral charge. Even the earth ground in circuits has a charge, it is just that the actual charge is so insignificant that you can almost always consider the ground potential to be 0V.

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I don't think one can measure charge in Farads. –  akhmeteli Jul 5 '14 at 23:37
Thanks akhmeteli. My mind confused unit for a bit there. –  cspirou Sep 2 '14 at 9:06

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